GENEVA, N.Y. – The Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team defeated Hobart, 15-8, at Boswell Field on Saturday afternoon to clinch the 2014 Northeast Conference regular season title. In their inaugural season in the NEC, the Hawks posted an undefeated regular season in league play and currently stand at 11-3 overall and 6-0 in the Northeast Conference heading into the 2014 NEC Championships next weekend.
Trailing 2-1 midway through the first period, Saint Joseph's used a 5-0 run that spanned the remainder of the first period and all of the second to jump ahead, 6-2, heading into the halftime break.
The Hawks outscored the Statesmen 4-2 in the third period and netted the first four goals of the fourth period - all within 1:29 of each other - to extend SJU's lead to ten goals, 14-4, with 11:54 remaining in regulation.
Hobart's Matt Opsahl scored his second of three goals on the day with 8:42 left to play to close the deficit to nine goals, but sophomore attackman Parker Self recorded his first collegiate goal with just under six minutes to play to extend SJU's lead back to ten goals, 15-5.
The Hobart Statesmen (4-9, 3-3 NEC) scored the game's final three goals, but that 15-8 score would stand as time expired.
Despite turning the ball over 20 times - including six on failed clears - the Hawks used a 42-35 advantage in shots and 37-32 edge in ground balls to lock down the victory.
Redshirt junior attackman Ryan McGee led all scorers with his sixth three-plus goal game of the season and added a game-best two assists to go with four ground balls in the win. Freshman attackman Michael Rastivo also notched three goals while senior midfielder Johnny Simanski (2G, 1A), junior midfielder Mike Dougherty (2G, 1A), and sophomore attackman Pat Swanick (2G) added multi-goal efforts.
Senior face-off specialist Will Abbott went 7-of-16 from the X to win all but three of SJU's 10 total possessions from the circle on the day. Junior defenseman Will Farrell recorded team-bests with five ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Freshman goalkeeper T.J. Jones made 13 saves - including five in the first period and six in the third - and allowed just four goals in 50:51. Rookie James Superka made four saves and allowed four goals in the final 9:09 to post a solid collegiate debut in net.
Saint Joseph's will enter postseason contention this Thursday, May 1. More information on game time and opponent to follow.